Updated: Nov 14, 2019
In the early 2010s when the wider world first caught a glimpse inside Google HQ, many scoffed at what appeared to be a giant playground for adult employees. Traditional 9-to-5-ers rolled their eyes at the flexible workspaces and openly mocked the nap pods.
It’s true that we don’t all require our employers to provide us with ‘cereal on tap’ or a game room in which we can take brain breaks. However, that unique, employee-centric workspace seems like an early (albeit exaggerated) version of a new wave in how successful companies bolster their workforce.
Bersin and Associates have noted that in order for businesses to stay at the top of their game in this new era, they’ll have to put their employees first. There’s no better way to show you’re invested in your employees than to encourage them to develop new skills or expand upon their existing skills.
With eLearning, it’s easier than ever to make education available to your workforce. The only question you should be asking is how best to implement eLearning to empower your employees and help them build skills that can better the business.
What is eLearning?
This term is thrown around a lot and it does have a broad definition, but it’s more than just a buzzword.
eLearning, short for electronic learning, is any training that’s delivered via digital mediums like your computer or cell phone. If you’ve ever flipped through a PowerPoint presentation online, watched a Screencast or completed a training simulation, you’ve experienced e-Learning!
In his post “From eLearning to We-Learning”, Josh Bersin, founder of Bersin and Associates illustrates how eLearning has changed from its introduction in the 1990s to today.
While in its early years, eLearning was more about taking existing instructor-led classes and recreating them in PowerPoint to make the content more widely available and easy to distribute, as technology has evolved so have our eLearning abilities.
Today, we can interact with eLearning in much more engaging ways. With the rise of Learning Management Systems and training design software like Articulate, it’s possible to take learners beyond the monotonous point and click of a PowerPoint presentation.
Learning modules can be differentiated and trainees can show they’re able to meet learning objectives through a variety of different learning activities. Many companies are even taking eLearning a step further by using Virtual Reality to create realistic simulations for their employees.
Whether you’re looking to gain a quick overview of something new (called microlearning) or you’re ready to commit to a longer, tiered session that will give you a full understanding of a new topic (macro learning), eLearning can be the solution.
You may not associate the word ‘training’ with words like ‘new’ and ‘exciting’, but technology continues to expand our eLearning capabilities. Learning a new skill is not only easy and accessible, but fun and rewarding.
4 Benefits of eLearning in Business
It’s easy to see how eLearning is beneficial in academia. Wide access to affordable, online classes had made it possible for a countless number of people to achieve their undergraduate and graduate degrees.
eLearning is also advantageous in the business sector in a number of unexpected ways.
eLearning is great for the dispersed workforce.
If your company has multiple locations and/or employees that work remotely, use e-Learning to quickly and easily guide all employees on new business practices that you’re trying to implement.
Example: A growing company has invested in upgraded software that will streamline their business practices. eLearning would allow the company to train all employees on how to use the software without having to gather them all together for a huge training session.
Keep your company on the forefront of advances in the industry with eLearning.
Your eLearning experience does not have to be an hour-long series of modules. In-depth eLearning courses take a long time to author and these lengthy courses aren’t always what your business needs to get an edge in your field.
Just-in-time training is quick, on-demand eLearning that allows your employees to have fast access to information right when they need it rather than having to wait for a seminar or to consult with an expert. It’s easily accessible and compressed into a fun-sized format.
Example: A streaming service is facing new challenges due to a recent law. In order to prepare their staff to answer tough questions about a new frontier, they compile a list of fast-facts related to frequently asked questions about how the law will change their services. Employees can quickly access this information on their mobile phones so they can field questions from clients and customers.
eLearning enables companies to upskill or reskill employees instead of hiring new talent.
Every year, some companies invest huge sums of money in recruiting rising talent in emerging fields or even poaching top talent from their competitors. Alternatively, employee-centric businesses can use eLearning to offer current staff opportunities for growth by upskilling (learning more related to your current work) or reskilling (learning something new that can lead to work in a different department).
Invest money in training that can better your existing staff, foster a growth mindset in your work environment and uplift your staff by showing them you believe in their talents. Services like Udemy and LinkedIn Learning already offer valuable courses that businesses can use to make sure their employees have access to fast and easy training that they can access from anywhere.
Example: A manufacturing company is interested in using AI to improve its practices. Instead of hiring an expensive specialist who’s unfamiliar with the vision of the company, they look inwards and offer current talent the opportunity to study natural language processing using a popular online learning course.
eLearning empowers your staff.
Earlier we mentioned this new dynamic in business in which the individual’s value is taking center stage. It should come as no surprise that when you empower all the individuals in your workforce, collectively this can lead to a surge in the success of your company.
Access to eLearning opportunities energizes employees on top of equipping them with skills that can lead them to a deeper understanding of their own field or allowing them to expand and move into more advanced career paths.
eLearning in the Future Workplace
As Bersin illuminated during his keynote speech at the Impact conference in 2018, it will be the companies that accept and focus on the “rise of the individual” that succeed moving forward. He doesn’t mean you have to buy nap pods, install a basketball court and have a happy hour cart every Thursday (but those things don’t hurt, either).
One of the best ways you can show that you value your employees is by fostering a growth mindset. Offering them opportunities to develop new or existing skills creates a workforce that strives to continue bettering themselves and even better, it empowers the individuals that contribute to the success of your company to take ownership of their own advancement.